Not all brandy is born on an equal footing.
Ask the person along with the number of brands of cognac they have heard of, and may be able to get rid of many big names without a little mention.
Remy Martin, Hennessy, and Corvazier are all cognac houses with world fame.
Ask the same person about the number of brands they have heard about Calvados, and most likely will not get such a response – they may not even know what Calvados is.
Duckel Dattiel and Vincent Peugeot aim to change this lack of recognition.
Together with his co-founder Thipo Paté, he launched the French Trio 30 and 40 – a Calvados independent manufacturer in Paris.
Business Insider joined Dutheil and Béjot in London to learn more about Calvados, how different from Cognac from her uncle, and how to make the best drink.
What is Calvados?
Calvados is a variety of brandy made from apples (and sometimes pears). Like champagne, Calvados must be grown in a certain area to be called Calvados, and this region is Normandy in northern France.
Calvados live first as apple juice, made from fermented apples. They are then distilled and aged in the oak drums, where they are required to stay for at least two years to properly classify them as Calvados under AOC (label "origine contrôlée").
Teams 30 and 40 tell us that there are about 400 Calvados in the region, each with its own variety of apples and aging processes.
How do you differ from Cognac?
First, the ingredients are different.
Cognac is made of distilled white wine and therefore grapes, while Calvados are made from apple juice and therefore apples – a key thing that Béjot claims to be working for.
While you may not be able to find out from the taste that the Cognac is growing out of wine, it is impossible to miss apple notes and scents in Calvados, giving people a sense of familiarity with the agricultural product, says Peugeot.
In order to comply with AOC, cognac must be made from 90% of Ugni Blanc grapes (known as Trebbiano in Italy) and allow a small group of others to form the rest.
Read more:This is the difference between cognac and brandy, and 6 other things you did not know about grape-based syrup
But Calvados is a much more diverse spirit. The 30s and 40s told me that there are about 300 different types of apples available under the AOC, and the list is constantly growing – just prove that the apples you use are native to Normandy. Therefore, distilled dozens of different types of apples can be used to make only one expression of Calvados.
"You will never be surprised by the Cognac, you will never find that small farmer who makes his own cognac – and that does not exist because the market is very mature," Dothill said.
In fact, the pair tells us that about six million bottles of Calvados are produced each year, compared to 200 million bottles of cognac.
So why the enormous variation in output?
Dothell says the gap between cognac and Calvados transcends ingredients and methods of production, however, to the early modern era.
"During the eighteenth century, King Louis XIV issued a law prohibiting people from Normandy exporting calvados outside the region," he says. "Because one of his ministers was a cognac."
As a result of the actions of Louis XIV, the investment and thus the production of Calvados had stagnated while exports of cognac were passing from the ceiling.
Moreover, Dutheil says that many of the great Cognac houses were created by British owners who liked the taste of traditional French fondue (colorless, flavorless fruit). Martel's founder, for example, was a merchant from Jersey on the Channel Islands and the founder of Hensi was an Irish military officer.
In the meantime, Calvados was "a very local product for the local population, so it was not very business-intensive," says Peugeot.
How to serve Calvados
Calvados makes a good apéritif or digéstif.
"The traditional way of enjoying Calvados is to serve as a drink after dinner," says Béjot.
"But, you can enjoy it as if you were a good whiskey – you can enjoy it after dinner but also before the meal."
Béjot is advised to present it in a lavender-shaped cup, which will store aromas and drink the flavor without the snow to get the maximum flavor – "Small wine glasses are also good [to serve in], "Is required.
However, the husband knows that post-dinner drinks are not exactly a pattern with today's youth: "We are seeing more appetizers; a kind of food," says Peugeot.
As such, Calvados goes big in bottles, he adds. "It's one of the spirits in classic cocktails like Jack Rose, which you can find in any good classic cocktail bar."
What we eat, and "Normand"
Eating Calvados during the meal is actually a traditional way of consuming, says Dothill.
"People in Normandy used to drink Calvados during meals because they will refresh your appetite."
"That's what we call the Norman Trom or the Norman Hole because it creates a new gap in your belly!" Peugeot adds.
What are the food pairs with apple juice? "We did something with the bath and mushroom.We also ate lobster and a classic dessert called Paris-Brest," says Peugeot.
"It fits well with very rich flavors."